Nebraska Authors

Paul A. Olson

Born 1932

A distinguished literary historian and scholar, Olsen has published six books and many articles on medieval, Plains and Indian literature, English education, higher education, linguistics, and composition. Olsen was director of the Center for Great Plains Studies, served on the board of the Center for Rural Affairs, and has long been involved in rural culture and education. He helped found the Nebraska Writing Project, which seeks to maintain the quality of teaching at rural and small community schools in Nebraska.


Places Lived

Lincoln, NE
Princeton, NJ

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


Literary History; Literary Criticism; Scholarship


Bachelor of Arts, 1951, Bethany
Master of Arts, 1953, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Ph.D., 1957, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Studied in London on a Fulbright Scholarship


Professor of English, 1957 to 2007

Places Worked

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE


Nebraska 150 Books honor for A Few Great Stories of the Santee People, 2017
Fulbright and Guggenheim scholar
Sue Tidball Award for Creative Humanity, 1994
Service award for 40 years of work at University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1997
Nebraska Literary Heritage Association’s Literary Heritage Award, 2008


Served as Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies;


The Canterbury Tales and the Good Society. 1986.
The Struggle for the Land: Indigenous Insight and Industrial Empire in the Semiarid World . 1990.
A Journey to Wisdom: Self-Education In Patristic and Medieval Literature. 1995.
The Kingdom of Science: Literary Utopianism and British Education: 1612-1870. 2003.
Beyond a Common Joy: An Introduction to Shakespearean Comedy. 2008.

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Paul A. Olson

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